Five Things I'm Grateful For

Happy Friday! I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving enjoyed it. I'm linking up with the fabulous ladies Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar On The Run, and Cynthia at You Signed Up For What for this week's theme: Gratitude.

Instead of making new year's resolutions at the beginning of this year, I instead chose one word to live by: Gratitude. I'm a huge believer in the power of positivity and that life is something like a boomerang--you get back what you put out. Focusing on what I'm grateful for can turn any negative situation positive, and it helped me train through last year's tough winter. This is what I wrote to a friend in February:
Running on a cold and frigid evening after work? I'm grateful I'm out and can see how beautiful the city is at night when I'd otherwise not be out. Having to run on a treadmill beside stinky people? I'm grateful I work where I can use a gym for free. It feels like 15 below 0 and chills my bones? I'm grateful to be alive. That we still have six more weeks of winter? I'm grateful that I'm injury-free and have a beautiful trail to run on so I can experience all of the seasons.
Now that it's November, though, I've found myself using my gratitude attitude less these days, so I'm happy for this week's theme. And, of course, I am grateful to Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia for hosting the Friday Five!

Five Things I'm Grateful For

1. Improving as a runner. After I finished at the very back of the pack in my first two half marathons last fall, I decided I wanted to improve. I've been steadily improving my race times (I shaved 9 minutes off my half marathon time and met my sub-30 5K goal this year) and training running paces. I've added a variety of workouts to my routine (intervals, tempo runs, pace runs, hilly runs) and have been running new routes. I've increased the number of days I run and my weekly mileage. And I've gotten tons of great advice and support from all of you, the blogging community (thank you!). This has all helped me to improve, which I'm extremely grateful for.
After the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon, I decided I needed to improve.

2. Living where I do. I love the country--grass and trees and forests and hills--and sometimes city living (the trash on the streets!) drives me nuts. But there's nowhere else I'd want to live, and it's particularly awesome for running. My house is a five-minute walk to the river trail on Pittsburgh's Northside that can go for miles (can actually connect up to other trails and go as far as Washington DC) or as a gateway to runs through Downtown, the Strip, Lawrenceville, Polish Hill, the jail trail, and the South Side. I can walk to the Strip District in about 15 minutes and Downtown in about 20-30. Before I adopted a dog and had to be home to let him out, I walked or biked the 3.8 miles home from Oakland. City living makes being active easier and fun. I can't imagine living somewhere where I couldn't walk or run a lot of places from my front door. I'm grateful we decided to buy our house--11 years ago this year!

3. Being healthy. I have not been sick since I started eating a plant-based diet four years ago. I've never had the flu, I rarely get headaches (maybe once a year), and I think I got a cold once from my sick husband, but it lasted about a day. Aside from plantar fasciitis this year, which is gone now, I've been free of injury. I''m so grateful that I've been able to continue running without having injury or illness sideline me.

4. Having the best dog in the world as part of my life.  I was matched with my retired racing greyhound by an adoption group and met him twice, at a Petco, before he came to live with us. We had no idea what his personality was and wouldn't know for six months, after we helped him work through all the issues he had transitioning from track life to retirement (more on that here.) Somehow, we ended up with a very special, very awesome dog. Every day I tell him what a good dog he is and how much I love him, and others who meet him are quick to fall in love with him. I love spending time with him. In addition to him being an awesome companion, he gives me even more opportunity to be active. While we have a small fenced patio, we do not want the dog using it as his toilet, so we leash walk him every time he has to do his business plus exercise walks. In addition to my regular workouts, I go on a 30-45 minute walk with the dog every single morning (usually right after my run). If it's nice at night, we usually go on another long walk. And every weekend we try to do fun hikes in local parks or or other long walks. I am so grateful we adopted Django!

5. Sharing my life with my husband. Dave and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary this September. He is my best friend, and I can't imagine life without him. I'm grateful that he's also active and we spend a lot of our time walking and exploring new places. I'm also grateful that he makes me laugh every day. He could be a stand-up comedian, and I've tried to get him to try an amateur comedy night. While he doesn't want to do that, he does make all family get-togethers really fun, like Thanksgiving yesterday with my family at my mom's house.

Bonus: My Cat Orla. While I'm grateful for all my three cats, I'm especially grateful that my cat Orla, who is permanently infected with feline leukemia, continues to be healthy. The statistic is that 100% of cats permanently infected do not live beyond 5 years old, but she is 8 (and the statistic is obviously wrong)! Every day I'm grateful she continues to do well.

Can't wait to read other gratitude posts!

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